Date Movie (Unrated) (2004)

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good. Last night, it was my turn. I watched Date Movie — all 85 minutes of it — so that you’ll never have to. With the benefit of hindsight, I would’ve preferred to have been nailed to a tree.

Date Movie may not actually be the worst movie of all time, but it’s certainly well equipped to fight the likes of The Avengers, Supernova and You Got Served for the undisputed title. The only way it could have been any worse would have been if they’d added Jean-Claude Van Damme to the cast, given him two roles, wrongly convicted both his characters, and condemned them to share a cell in an inhuman, futuristic prison where, no doubt, Date Movie would’ve been playing on a continuous loop. And it’s not as if Fox wasn’t warned. . .

“When the studio was deciding whether or not to greenlight this movie, Aaron and I shot a one-day test, sort of a teaser-trailer, to show what this movie was going to be, what the tone was going to be, et cetera …” — Jason Friedberg (Writer of Date Movie, speaking on the commentary)

So there you have it, the studio knew exactly what it was getting into. There’s only one justification for the existence of Date Movie, and it’s not that it’s a genuinely bleeding-edge meta-parody of the spoof movie industry. Oh no. There’s no post-modern deconstruction going on here: this is all about the bottom line. Filmed for a budget of $20 million, Date Movie recouped its costs on its opening weekend and went on to make almost $60 million profit worldwide. Clearly, there are a lot of very silly people in the world, and a lot of very rich ones in Hollywood.

Alyson Hannigan’s agent appears to fall into both categories.

“Alyson is a terrific actress with great comic timing.”
— Aaron Seltzer

What was she was thinking? Alyson Hannigan’s charm and beauty are such that even after enduring Date Movie, my companion and I would still welcome her into our bedroom with open arms — especially in her full-on Kill Bill costume — but I doubt very much that we could respect her in the morning. While her role as Michelle in the American Pie trilogy gave her ample opportunity to shine, Hannigan comes out of Date Movie looking less like a fine comic actress and more like a victim of somebody’s very poor judgment.

When Date Movie‘s end credits finally rolled to a close, my companion and I both sat, stunned, on the sofa. Unable to move. Struggling to work out what had just happened and where the last 85 minutes had gone. This movie is that bad. While the date movie genre may be ripe for a sharp, intelligent spoof, Date Movie is none of these things. Indeed, it’s barely a spoof at all since there’s no satire worth the name — just a catalog of references to other infinitely superior movies, Napoleon Dynamite, Meet The Focking Parents, and Grey’s Anatomy.

Having wasted an entire Saturday night having my brain sucked slowly and painfully out through my nostrils by Date Movie, I don’t intend to waste any more of my time listing its faults, which are legion, than is strictly necessary. So let’s just say that if you think the sight (and sound) of a cat puppet taking a flatulent and painful extended dump is hilarious, or if the prospect of the same puppet attempting to hump the mummified remains of someone’s mother has your sides splitting with mirth, then Date Movie is definitely the movie for you and both your brain-cells. If, however, you’d already noticed that Jennifer Lopez has a distinctive derrière and you don’t believe Meet The Fockers really was the crowning achievement of the cinematic era, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Date Movie is crass and unfunny, with none of the redeeming qualities of spoofs like Not Another Teen Movie, Scary Movie or, perish the thought, Airplane!. Its single comic highlight is provided by Eddie Griffin’s unfeasible eyebrows; and this rush-released DVD actually comes with more and better jokes on its additional features menu than the entire original movie can boast. It offers you the chance either to watch Date Movie with an additional laughter track — which was obviously recorded several miles away from any movie theatre where this atrocity had ever been shown — or to skim your way through the whole damn thing in just six minutes. I’d like to think these japes reveal that the movie’s creators had finally seen the error of their ways, but somehow I doubt it. They’re probably just laughing all the way to the bank.

RATING 4 / 10